Thursday, November 13, 2008

Patriotism

Patriotism


(In 1964 The Queen unveiled an equestrian statue of Robert Bruce overlooking the field at Bannockburn. The features were a romantic interpretation of a plaster cast of the King’s skull)


When I first saw Bruce, scooped shining
from bronze in a blade of autumn sun,
he had the jaw of a superhero,
gaze fixed on the cartoon world in peril,
Dr Octopus at Stirling Castle,
or the Circus of Doom crossing the Bannock Burn.
Too remote to be real:
my father was mashed in war and I was not
of a generation to think anywhere,
least of all Scotland, that grey puddled place
shut on a Sunday, worth dying for.

As long as it was for something prefixed
international, I marched across the land,
until, when finally standing still,
my country grew uninvited round me,
not the one with heroes shrunk the size
of shortbread tins, or even a sweep of landscape
that takes the breath like a blow in the gut,
but the one seen in the boss of a child’s eye,
her face sore with smiling:
that Scotland, it turns out, a place
worth living for.

6 comments:

hope said...

I did as you suggested and found what I think is a photo of the statue you speak of.

I've often wondered if women and men view war differently. I always felt at cross purposes about it: doesn't seem to solve much, takes away good people with the "bad"...all over a piece of ground when you get right down to it. Thanks for making me think.

As for tomorrow night...do you tell a Poet to break a leg or to just have fun? ;)

the broken down barman said...

i think its chefs that you tell to break a leg, normally in more than one place. lying in a pool of excrement is optional

McGuire said...

Hello Shug,

Glad I came along on Friday (I didn't get home until Sunday night, a bit worse for wear). But it was great to finally meet you, hear you read, and also meet Rachel and Claire. All people I have discovered online. I am eager to get back to the Forest Cafe and read some of my madness aloud.

All in all, great wee night, and brought a nice crowd of 'similar' people together.

May there be many more.

shug said...

if you're going to read tell me so I can come up and listen!

Stooshie said...

How's your second career as a teacher coming along?

S.L. Corsua said...

I've read this several times, and feel, or experience somehow, the essence of the poem, captured in the one-word title and in the hope-filled ending -- live for, not merely in, one's country, yes. A lasting sentiment, its intensity hopefully spanning generations.